We believe that mathematics should be relevant and applicable to the needs of children and their future role in society, as well as enjoyable for its own sake. We follow the guidelines laid down in the National Curriculum and in daily lessons children are taught the basic concepts of mathematics, including tables. Children tackle a range of activities and tasks, using lots of mental maths and an emphasis is put on developing a number of mental strategies to solve mathematical problems. Standard written methods are taught when appropriate. At different times children will work individually, in pairs, in ability groups and as a whole class.
The use of Maths games, investigations, problem-solving and practical activities consolidate learning. In this way children can not only work out the correct solutions, but can develop the ability to explain their thinking, apply their understanding to new situations and work with confidence developed through on sound mathematical skills.
Special Education Needs in Maths
How do we ensure all children can access maths lessons?
Our curriculum is designed to ensure that all children can access their learning and are enthusiastic to do so. We focus on a range of skills including number bonds, timetables, geometry, statistics and real-life mathematical problems incorporating the ‘Big Maths’ scheme to ensure a rounded and consistent learning experience across the school. Our lessons are differentiated so that all children have the same experiences but which are tailored to their individual needs. We focus on what children can achieve in lessons to build up confidence and a love of learning, whilst gaining an understanding of all things mathematical and making progress which is aligned to their abilities. This is achieved through additional interventions such as ‘pre-teaching’ and small group support within the classroom. For those children with complex additional needs, a suitably differentiated plan is developed with support, in some instances, of external agencies to ensure that we are providing them with the best opportunities to develop their skills and understanding of maths. All children are given the opportunity to partake in all daily lessons as well as having the opportunity to be involved in whole school assemblies and attendance at after school maths clubs when offered. As a school we adapt our environment to suit the needs of our children with resources such as coloured exercise books, adapted pens and pencils, vocabulary mats and practical resources.
As a school we strive to support fully the teaching of maths and to develop the children’s learning to allow each and every child to maximise their own individual potential.
Mastery in Maths
Mastery in maths, which is at the heart of our school’s maths curriculum, means that the children should acquire a long-term, secure, adaptable understanding of mathematics; this means that they become completely secure in each element before advancing onto the next. At each stage of their learning, they progress through small steps, in order to become competent and then accelerate their learning.
In our school, we focus on promoting five key ideas:
Coherence, where children become coherent in understanding different mathematical concepts and are competent in using relevant, accurate vocabulary;
Representation and structure, where the children explore many different ways of representing numbers, calculations and other contexts, in order that it expands the way that they think and see things;
Variation, where children are encouraged to look at different contexts and explore similarities and differences, therefore making links between them in order to aid their learning
Fluency, where children rehearse basic skills in order to recall facts and information quickly;
Mathematical thinking, where children look for patterns, make links, find relationships and connections, reason logically, explain and prove their findings.
The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
Big Maths is a scheme that we use to develop children’s mathematical fluency and recall of facts and ideas. It is based upon five principles:
- Children become numerate through following a natural sequence of progression – we call these steps ‘Progress Drives’.
- Children need to have basic skills in order to use them – we call these basic skills ‘Core Numeracy’ and the use of them ‘Outer Numeracy’.
- Children acquire the basic skills through CLIC: a four stage process:
Counting (children learn to count and to ‘count on’)
Learn Its (children recall their ‘counting on’ as facts).
It’s Nothing New (children then ‘swap the thing’ to realise that the counting fact, or ‘Learn It’, can be applied to any object, amount or unit of measure).
Calculation (the previous 3 phases are combined to provide a calculation structure).
- Children need a structured and regular basic skills session in order to become properly numerate. We will hold a daily CLIC session, with plenty of repetition, revisiting and reinforcement to ensure children keep moving up the Progress Drives.
- The CLIC framework ensures continuity across the school.
When using Progress Drives we will follow a 5 stage model that puts the child at the heart of the learning experience:
- Know which step the learner is currently at (current attainment).
- Know the next step (this comes from subject knowledge).
- Re-locate the learner by teaching him / her well (this ‘next location’ comes from subject expertise, i.e. we apply our subject knowledge in a teaching and learning situation).
- Check the learner has re-located by assessing collaboratively (this requires a further assessment).
- Communicate the next location to the learner as a target.
This has four main areas:
- Maths Breadth: this includes wider subject areas within the Mathematics curriculum, such as measures, probability etc.
- Problem Solving: these are purely mathematical problems that in Big Maths we rephrase as ‘Number Challenges’
- Word Problems: these are mathematical problems wrapped up in a real life scenario. In Big Maths we rephrase these as ‘Real Life Maths’
- Multi-methods: here we look at different ways of solving the same Mathematics question. The focus here is on efficiency rather than on understanding, and this leads us to look at the Column Methods for Calculation.
One of the key teaching strategies from Big Maths is to provide children with a ‘brain only’ way of solving questions. However, the development of mental maths is not left to chance, there is a deliberate and strong structure that leaves all children empowered to think quickly, accurately and therefore successfully! This happens through a three part process called FAB:
F is for Full: We start off with a full written method that is high on understanding.
A is for Abridged: Now we take the writing away, gradually, over time while training the brain to hold numbers in the head.
B is for Brain: Finally, children are left with the ability to solve the question with nothing except their mind.